Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Batman Vs. Bigby! A Wolf In Gotham #1 Review


This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Two of Us....

Written by: Bill Willingham
Art by: Brian Level, Lee Loughridge, and Steve Wands
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 28, 2021

Review by: Kyle Ziegler (@KyleClicky on Twitter)

DC is in the midst of shamelessly milking Batman for everything he is worth (and it turns out that he has a lot of money), so I was interested in seeing if a non-standard story featuring the character could end up being a breath of fresh air. 

I haven't read Fables's on my to-do list as a matter of full disclosure. My knowledge of Fables is limited to knowing that it involves the blending of fairy tales and that Bigby is a werewolf whose occupation is a sheriff. That probably came from skimming the Wikipedia summary at some point in the past. So if there's a big Fable-related plot point, it's likely to go right over my head.


This issue serves as a setup for what's to come. Batman is investigating the latest in a string of murders that appear to result from animal mutilation. We also see that Bigby is in Gotham, presumably following Batman.  Batman responds to the lighting of the Bat-Signal, meeting with Gordon and a new detective, Molly Grace, who is in charge of the investigation of what Gordon refers to as "The Wolf Homicides". Grace refers to being from Detroit, but I am expecting a reveal at some point that she is not quite what she seems. Batman asks them for the forensics collected from the attacks, which leads them to believe that the attacker is a giant wolf. However, Batman doesn't think that this theory, given that the hairs he collected from the crime scene were the same size as that of an average wolf.  

After this, we see that Bigby followed Batman to his meeting at the Bat-Signal and that Batman, knowing that Bigby has been tailing him, violently confronts him. After a scuffle, Batman gasses Bigby, leading to Bigby regaining his consciousness in the Batcave.
Interspersed with the Batman vs. Bigby storyline are scenes featuring a character that seems to be the true antagonist for the story, though, his identity is a secret. While speaking with him, a character named Mrs. Stacks says, "Isn't that why you brought me over with you, to watch your back?" leading me to believe that readers of Fables might be in for a cool identity reveal at some point in the series.  The mystery villain is after a book. Indeed his whole operation has a literary bent. His underlings share last names with prominent authors. This undoubtedly means that the villain's plans are tied in with advertising that is seen and heard in Gotham for an upcoming Literary Festival.

As was previously mentioned, this book serves as a setup for what's to come. The book starts by stating that it is "Three days before the incident," and Bigby wakes up in the Batcave the day before. The story presented in this issue is quite light, and how good it will depend on what's to come. Willingham's dialogue was well written, and I thought he voiced each character well.  A first glance at the art left me with the impression that Brian Level could be swapped out with JRJR, and I don't consider that a compliment. However, with a slightly closer look, I much prefer Level's work. He uses a similar pencil-heavy technique, but his framing of scenes and use of page layout combined with that style make the book a pleasure to look at.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman vs. Bigby doesn't show you how fast it can go right out of the gate. Instead, it seems Willingham has the confidence to lay a good foundation and will let the narrative build on that. I look forward to seeing if he can provide us with a solid story instead of the usual flash over substance fare that crossovers tend to be. Brian Level's art was an unexpected treat.


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